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DA, BuCor to maximize idle lands for urban agri project

Author: DA Communications Group | 16 February 2021

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) firmed up their new partnership for the Urban Agriculture Project (UAP), wherein available lands of BuCor will be used for food production.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar and BuCor Director-General and Undersecretary Gerald Bantag formally launched the “Gulayan sa Pamahalaan” under the UAP with a harvest festival at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntilupa City on February 11, 2021.

“Let’s put up a sustainability plan for this project to be continued even beyond the time that we will no longer be here to support it. Make it a self-sustaining business model, the model that we can start working on so that we build up the capacity of the Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs),” Secretary Dar said.

He added that the PDL should be engaged to be part of enhancing food security for themselves and for their family.

Through the DA-BuCor Memorandum of Agreement for agriculture development, arable land at the NBP reservation will be developed into an agri-fishery site that will help reform PDL, prepare them for community integration, and support Metro Manila’s food requirements.

In three years, plant nurseries, seed production facilities, breeder farms, fish farms, and composting facilities will be established, while maintaining fruit, vegetable, livestock, and fish farm within the 80-hectare NBP reservation.

“The program is in line with one of the priorities of BuCor which is the implementation of the ‘Gulayan sa Pamahalaan’ Agro-Industrial Project. We are optimizing the utilization of the available lands of BuCor, so we are looking forward to our partnership with DA,” BuCor Assistant Secretary Milfredo Melegrito said.

According to Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Assistant Director Gerald Glenn Panganiban, every seed planted by the partners at BuCor and the PDL symbolize hope for the future.

Secretary Dar challenged the BPI to upscale the UAP implementation through partnerships with different government agencies and private sector stakeholders to help lessen the impact of the pandemic.

Officials present during the event include DA Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Eduardo Gongona, and BuCor Assistant Secretary Gabriel Chaclag. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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